The Rift | Alex Perry

Summary of: The Rift: A New Africa Emerges
By: Alex Perry


In ‘The Rift: A New Africa Emerges’, Alex Perry uncovers the vast potential of Africa, debunking outdated and limiting views of the continent. This book summary explores areas of progress in African countries, such as farming, technology, and improved cities, all of which provide hope for a better future. Perry emphasizes the importance of a self-reliant Africa fueled by its internal strength and resources, rather than external influence from the West. Expect a journey that challenges preconceived notions and highlights the ongoing transformation in Africa.

Failing Africa: The Tragedy of the Southern Somalia Famine

In 2011, southern Somalia experienced one of the deadliest famines in its history, with almost three million refugees seeking emergency aid. Sadly, over 300,000 of them died – the majority being the elderly and children. With proper assistance, many lives could have been saved. However, the West fails to help Africa time and again due to its priorities being mostly political and related to the War on Terror. The United States prevented aid to southern Somalia during the famine, despite calls from humanitarian agencies, as they considered the Al-Shabab group as an enemy in the war. As a result, people in need, like Khalima Adan and her three children who died during the journey to Mogadishu, were left helpless. The United States’ focus on Al-Shabab and the War on Terror led to the deaths of thousands of Somalis who could have been saved.

George Clooney’s humanitarian work

George Clooney’s profile goes beyond being a Hollywood star. He is a prominent advocate for the freedom of South Sudan from the Sudanese government’s systematic massacres against southern rebels. Clooney went above and beyond by visiting Juba annually to raise awareness and renting a satellite to track the government’s troop movements. Despite his efforts, there have been two rival ethnic groups present even after South Sudan’s independence. The Western efforts serve as an eye-opener that lasting change must come from within Africa.

Farming for Economic Growth

Agriculture can be the key to ending poverty in Africa and world hunger. Farming is the best way for a country to develop wealth. The increase in income of farmers can decrease extreme poverty levels. China is an example of economic development through farming; agricultural income increase led to the decrease of poverty levels. Africa has 1.46 billion acres of farmable land, which is more than the rest of the world combined. Ethiopia’s revolutionized farming practices, through the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, enabled farmers to invest and grow their farms, increased agricultural production by 7.8 percent.

Lagos Transformation

Lagos city’s radical transformation from a crumbling city to a functional one by Babatunde Fashola’s administration

Urban African communities have a reputation for being rundown, impoverished, and hopeless. Lagos was no exception; in 2009, the city was a tragic embodiment of modern Africa’s failures. The city’s most significant challenges were no running water, electricity or sewage system, and a staggering 65 percent of the city’s 20 million inhabitants living in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $2 a day.

Things changed dramatically when Babatunde Fashola came into power as the governor of Lagos in 2009. In just a few years, Fashola oversaw the transformation of the dire slums of Lagos into a functional city. Two-thirds of the city’s residents gained access to clean water, compared to just one-third in 2009, and the city was protected against flooding. Streets got new lights, and green public parks replaced garbage dumps. The rebuilding process also created 42,000 new government jobs, providing economic stimulus to city residents.

Fashola collaborated with Peruvian poverty specialist Fernando De Soto to restore order to the chaotic slums on the city’s outskirts by giving residents property rights. The plan quickly restored order to the slums, decreasing burglaries, murders, and assaults by 90 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Additionally, these new property owners became taxpayers and helped strengthen the overall economy.

In summary, Babatunde Fashola’s administration oversaw a radical transformation of Lagos city, turning a rundown and impoverished city into a functional one. Lagos’s rebuilding process was not only restricted to physical structures but also improved the city’s socio-economic structure, providing jobs and giving residents property rights.

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